Making the morning rounds.
• Couldn't have done it without you, coach. Yes, he was playing against Rice, but the best player of opening night may have been UCLA's redshirt freshman quarterback, Brett Hundley, who looked worth the hype and then some in a 49-24 Bruin win: For the game, Hundley was 21-of-28 passing with a pair of touchdowns, and broke the afore-linked 72-yard touchdown run on his first snap from scrimmage.
And just in case you lost track of it, who was it that recruited Brett Hundley to UCLA in the first place? Oh that's right:
Touchdown for Brett Hundley on his first collegiate play! The recruiting was worth it.— Rick Neuheisel (@CoachNeuheisel) August 30, 2012
Hey, don't sell yourself short, Rick: The decision to keep Hundley marinating on the bench to a redshirt-y perfection while your veteran quarterbacks struggled last year played a big role in it, too. [Eye on CFB, @CoachNeuheisel]
• That's not really what we had in mind when we said we wanted to be more offensive. Washington State's defense yielded 30 points to BYU in Mike Leach's first game as Wazzu head coach, a perfectly respectable effort, actually, for a team that's allowed at least 32 points per game in five consecutive seasons. Leach's vaunted "Air Raid" offense, on the other hand, was dead on arrival: Washington State ended the night with all of 224 yards' worth of total offense, matching its worst effort of the season in 2012, and failed to find the end zone once in a long, ugly, 30-6 debacle. Quarterback Jeff Tuel, snapped up by fantasy players everywhere in an anticipation of a big year on Leach's watch, put the ball in the air 45 times but averaged just five yards per pass – not to mention just 7.6 per completion – and was picked off twice.
On the bright side, you know who slept really well last night for the first time in like, forever? Paul Wulff. [Eye on CFB]
• Play of the night. UMass was predictably thumped in its first game as a full-fledged FBS program, a 37-0 whitewash at the hands of UConn, but Minutemen safety Darren Thellen showed some impressive hands of his own on a tight-roping, tip-drill interception to teammate Tom Brandt in the first quarter:
Alas, the video quality is not great. But go ahead and rewatch that as many times as it takes to appreciate it. [Big East Coast Bias]
• Taking applications. Meanwhile, off the field, new Big East commissioner Mike Aresco sent Conference USA a-twitter Thursday by confirming that the Big East is looking to add a 14th member in football by 2015, and to stage a conference championship game. A brief refresher on the status of the conference over the next three years:
2012 (8): Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, Temple.
2013 (12): Boise State, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, San Diego State, SMU, South Florida, Temple.
Out in 2013: Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
2015 (13): Boise State, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Rutgers, San Diego State, SMU, South Florida, Temple.
The Big East will be losing its status as a "BCS conference" after 2014 – that designation won't exist under the forthcoming playoff regime, but unlike the other BCS conferences, the Big East won't retain its automatic presence in the major bowl rotation, either – but is also in the process of negotiating a new television contract that will make it an attractive destination for aspiring climbers in the Have Not leagues. (Aresco seems to have been hired specifically to milk the maximum dollar figure out of that deal: He's a former executive at CBS who helped negotiate the network's colossal contract with the NCAA for the men's basketball tournament.) Air Force has already told the Big East "thanks but no thanks" in favor of staying in the Mountain West; ditto Army, which didn't have such a great experience in the last decade as a short-lived member of Conference USA. That leaves… who, exactly?
''We're looking at a 14th. 'I'm not talking about which ones," Aresco said. "There are some obvious candidates, but we're not talking about raiding anyone and there are some independents that might potentially want to be a member.'' Independents, you say? In that case, the University of Idaho anxiously awaits your call. [Associated Press]
Quickly… Minnesota narrowly escaped another humiliating upset at UNLV with an icing field goal in triple overtime. … Idaho, already suffering from the sting of pending homelessness in 2013, was trounced by an FCS team, Eastern Washington. … So was Middle Tennessee, a 27-21 victim at the hands of Tyrann Mathieu-less McNeese State. … As expected, Ole Miss names juco transfer Bo Wallace as its starting quarterback for Saturday's opener at Central Arkansas, but still plans to give Barry Brunetti a shot off the bench. … A State College restaurant expels a brick with Jerry Sandusky's name on it. … I get the feeling that being a Rice football fan is kind of like being on a decades-long acid trip. … And once again, Texas A&M is going to fit in just fine in the SEC.